IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Self-Employment and The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital


  • Nathalie Colombier
  • David Masclet


We use the European Community Household Panel Survey (ECHP) to investigate the determinants of self-employment. More precisely, we consider the influence of immediate social environments and social networks on the choice of self-employment. We conjecture that self-employment is correlated across generations because parents may transmit two classes of informal human capital to their offspring: (1) specific skills for a specific occupation and (2) general managerial skills such as the capacity to acquire autonomy, irrespective of the specific occupation. Our data allow us to dissociate those individuals who are first-generation self-employed from second-generation self-employed (i.e. those whose parents are self-employed), and, among second-generation self-employed, those individuals whose parents are in the same occupation as their offspring. Consistent with our assumptions, we show that having parents who are self-employed increases the probability of being self-employed, even when the individuals do not have the same occupation as their parents. We also observe strong differences between first and second generation self-employed workers. First-generation self-employed are generally younger and more educated than second generation self-employed. Finally our results indicate that first-generation self-employed report higher job satisfaction than second-generation self-employed. Nous étudions dans cet article les déterminants du travail indépendant à partir de l'enquête européenne des ménages (ECHP). Plus particulièrement, nous étudions le rôle joué par l'environnement familial de l'individu. L'originalité de cette étude est de montrer que les parents ne se contentent généralement pas de transmettre à leurs enfants des compétences spécifiques à un métier donné mais également certaines aptitudes managériales non spécifiques à une profession particulière, facilitant ainsi l'accès au statut d'indépendant quel que soit le métier exercé. Nos résultats montrent sans ambiguïté qu'au-delà de la transmission d'un « savoir-faire » favorisant l'accès à un métier spécifique, dans un grand nombre de cas, les parents travailleurs indépendants facilitent également l'accès de leurs enfants au statut d'indépendant et cela bien souvent, quel que soit le métier envisagé. Un autre résultat intéressant de notre étude est qu''l existe des différences importantes au sein des travailleurs indépendants selon qu'ils ont bénéficié ou non de transmissions intergénérationnelles de la part de parents travailleurs indépendants. On observe par exemple que le niveau d'éducation formelle est davantage discriminant pour les premières générations de travailleurs indépendants (ceux dont les parents ne sont pas travailleurs indépendants) que pour les secondes générations de travailleurs indépendants (ceux dont les parents sont travailleurs indépendants).

Suggested Citation

  • Nathalie Colombier & David Masclet, 2006. "Self-Employment and The Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," CIRANO Working Papers 2006s-19, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2006s-19

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Markusen, James & Rutherford, Thomas F. & Tarr, David, 2000. "Foreign direct investment in services and the domestic market for expertise," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2413, The World Bank.
    2. Arnold, Jens M. & Javorcik, Beata S. & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2011. "Does services liberalization benefit manufacturing firms?: Evidence from the Czech Republic," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 136-146, September.
    3. Brown, Drusilla K & Stern, Robert M, 2001. "Measurement and Modeling of the Economic Effects of Trade and Investment Barriers in Services," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(2), pages 262-286, May.
    4. Varoudakis, Aristomene & Rossotto, Carlo Maria, 2004. "Regulatory reform and performance in telecommunications: unrealized potential in the MENA countries," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-78, February.
    5. repec:wsi:wschap:9789813108448_0019 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Jesper Jensen & Thomas Rutherford & David Tarr, 2014. "The Impact of Liberalizing Barriers to Foreign Direct Investment in Services: The Case of Russian Accession to the World Trade Organization," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: APPLIED TRADE POLICY MODELING IN 16 COUNTRIES Insights and Impacts from World Bank CGE Based Projects, chapter 6, pages 125-149 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    7. Philippa Dee & Kevin Hanslow, 2002. "Multilateral liberalisation of services trade," International Trade 0207002, EconWPA.
    8. Deardoff, A.V. & Brown, D.K. & Stern, R.M. & Fox, A.K., 1995. "Computational Analysis of Goods and Services Liberalization in the Uruguay Round," Working Papers 379, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    9. Aaditya Mattoo & Pierre Sauve, 2003. "Domestic Regulation and Service Trade Liberalization," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15081.
    10. Konan, Denise Eby & Maskus, Keith E., 2000. "Joint trade liberalization and tax reform in a small open economy: the case of Egypt," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 365-392, April.
    11. John Whalley, 2004. "Assessing the Benefits to Developing Countries of Liberalisation in Services Trade," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(8), pages 1223-1253, August.
    12. Maskus, Keith E & Konan, Denise Eby, 1997. "Trade Liberalization in Egypt," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(3), pages 275-293, October.
    13. Francois, Joseph & Wooton, Ian, 2001. "Market structure, trade liberalization and the GATS," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 389-402, June.
    14. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 2009. "Some Economic Effects of the Free Trade Agreement between Tunisia and the European Union," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Globalization And International Trade Policies, chapter 11, pages 343-392 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    15. Konan, Denise Eby & Maskus, Keith E., 2006. "Quantifying the impact of services liberalization in a developing country," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 142-162, October.
    16. James Markusen & Thomas F. Rutherford & David Tarr, 2017. "Trade and direct investment in producer services and the domestic market for expertise," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Trade Policies for Development and Transition, chapter 19, pages 439-458 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    17. Thomas W. Hertel, 2000. "Potential gains from reducing trade barriers in manufacturing, services and agriculture," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 77-104.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Clark & Nathalie Colombier & David Masclet, 2008. "Never the same after the first time: the satisfaction of the second-generation self-employed," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(7), pages 591-609, November.
    2. Laure Pasquier-Doumer, 2013. "Intergenerational Transmission of Self-Employed Status in the Informal Sector: A Constrained Choice or Better Income Prospects? Evidence from Seven West African Countries," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 22(1), pages 73-111, January.
    3. Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth & Belton, Willie, 2008. "The Role of Information and Institutions in Understanding the Black-White Gap in Self-Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 3761, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    human capital; intergenerational links; self-employment; social capital ; capital humain; capital social; liens intergénérationnels; travail indépendant;

    JEL classification:

    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2006s-19. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.